Any sensible multiple marathon runner, who shredded their inner thigh 5 days earlier would be taking a rest from running for a while whilst the wound heals.
However sensible and multiple marathon are words you rarely find together in a sentence. Even more so if you add the word Daniel!
So with thigh adorned with layers of Sudocrem, germolene and the biggest adhesive dressing Boots the Chemist sell. I was fully kitted out and ready to give another marathon a go! A 7hr timed event on the Thames tow path with Phoenix Running, the 7th day of a 10 in 10 event… (Maybe next Easter as the Coventry and Warwickshire school holidays don’t match I might have a go… just don’t tell Mary)
Having all my kit, even sports boxers checked for groin thinning (I don’t want a repeat of last Summer Sunday but on the other side 😫) laid out and ready to go at 6pm I felt oddly prepared. A feeling I am not accustomed to.
Gathering up Garmins, prepared hydration drinks and kit bags in no time I was ready to go. Even the car had a full tank of fuel. I had a nagging feeling that I must have forgotten something!
Parking up we had plenty of time to collect numbers, listen to Rik’s safety briefing and leave kit at the aid station (AKA sweetie shop!) before the off.
Having run the course twice I knew what to expect, but for Mary it was her first Phoenix event – her introduction to the blue bridge of doom!
The course was a simple fairly flat 1.64mile out to a turn point and back. Keep in sight of the Thames and you can’t get lost. The only elevation to speak of is a blue bridge that crosses a marina entry, lap 1 it’s fine… but by lap 8 (for a marathon) ouch ouch ouch (for the less refined a range of expletives replaced the ouches!)
Having seen the weather forecast I was so prepared I had a hat with neck protection and factor 50 roll on suncream. I even avoided applying it to my face where the sweat would wash it into my eyes!
The laps offered plenty to look at, although minimal shade from the hot sun. Posh water front houses, various craft rowing along the river or tied to the bank and the locals taking in the sun. Walking, cycling or just laying around with bottles and roll ups!
After the first lap I adopted a walk run strategy as beeped at by my newly replaced Garmin. Mary kept me company as we avoided other path users…Why don’t bikes have bells?
As we passed a group of trees I pointed out to Mary the wild parakeets and at the Angler pub mid lap the place where the ice cream van would be later… then I realised what I had forgotten!
My wallet, my emergency money… the ice cream fund! But no worries Mary had a card and if the van didn’t take it, the café at the far end surely would…
It surely didn’t. I even crossed the road to check. My world caved in at the loss of the icy treat. It was so bad, Mary left me!
Okay she didn’t, I told her to run ahead as she was looking stronger than I was in the growing heat of the day. There are a few simple equations that we could judge our marathons by:-
Asthma + Cold Weather + Running a long way = Mary suffers but Daniel flourishes (Relative to his normal speed)
Warm weather + Running a long way = Mary in her element and runs well, Daniel starts to resemble a hog roast! And a rather large boar at that.
On my 6th laps I had had enough… I was too hot, miserable and sure my groin wound was starting to play up. I decided to ring out at the next visit to the aid station – my race had been run.
But there on the path ahead, I was visited by an angel in the bearded shape of Paul a fellow runner his divine words and gift changed my race completely.
“You look like you need an ice cream. I’ve put some money behind the counter at the van. Have one!”
Half a mile later, clutching a Cherry Brandy flavour ice lolly I trudge on. I knew I could move for another 2 laps… that’s only two parkruns after all.
I have commented in the past how great these small lap marathons are. Their friendly nature as you pass each other but that ice cream rebooted my race. Chatting to others after I wished them luck for tomorrow, on day 8! When the weather looks set to be even warmer! Any sensible runner would just do a parkrun. But multiple marathoners (especially 10 in 10 runners) just run! Good luck to them.